Deborah Botker, Professor of History

Growing up, my parents stressed the need for education. Photo of Deb Botker Neither of my parents have a college degree.  On my father’s side, I was the first person in the extended family to get a college degree.  While neither of parents attended college, they sacrificed so much to give my brother and me the opportunity.  They sent us to private grade school and then sacrificed even more to send us to a college prep high school.  I was one of the few scholarship kids at my small high school and learned all about social class dynamics as well as academic subjects.  While my parents knew that an education was important to success in life, they could not give me the inside knowledge of what college was like.  They could not help prepare me for all of the different situations that one experiences in college.

My goal was to attend a small, private college back east.  That was my idea of what college should be: a liberal arts college set on a campus in a small college town.  I reached the initial part of my goal by being accepted to Colgate University.  It was everything I wanted.  Of course, I had to do work-study because my parents could never pay for a university like that.  Working in the cafeteria was not very fun and certainly made it more difficult to keep up with my studies and compete against students who not only did not have to work to pay for college, but were given incredible allowances by their parents.  My parents could not afford to fly me home for most of the school breaks so I, along with a very few other students, spent Thanksgiving on campus eating Top Ramen and macaroni and cheese.  Unfortunately, my college dream ended after my freshmen year.  My parents could not afford to continue paying for a college education that was so expensive. So, I came home.

I ended up finishing my degree at my Hometown University of Arizona which is where I also earned my MA.  I was able to take advantage of a deal that the University had for in-state students.  We could take any number of credits that we wanted to, but we would not have to pay for more than 12 credits.  I remember a few crazy semesters where I took 6 or 7 classes just so I could finish on time. I was ever so lucky to have a grandmother pick up my tuition tab for my undergraduate degree. I cobbled together multiple part time jobs so that I could pay my bills.  I had some amazing jobs that included tutoring the athletic teams and even got to travel with the basketball team for some of their games.  Of course, looking back, if I had been able simply to study instead of working 2 to 3 jobs at any one time, my grades might have been higher.  However, all of the experiences I had in college have led me to where I am today, and I would not trade my present life for anything.


Name: Deborah Botker          

Department: History

Title: Adjunct Faculty

Campus location: Lowell, Cowan Center Building


Phone number: 978-656-3420

Last Modified: 8/2/21